Francesca Yukari Biller

Francesca Biller is an award winning investigative journalist, political satirist, author, and social commentator for print, radio, and television. With a background of Japanese and Jewish, she writes about her interesting background in both an introspective and humorous way and her work has been been published for The Huffington Post, CNN, The Los Angeles Times, The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, and many other publications. Awards include The Edward R. Murrow award, two Golden Mike awards, and four Society of Professional Journalists awards for Excellence in Journalism. Biller is currently writing three books, the first a novel about the 442nd Infantry set in Hawaii, the second a compilation of humorous essays about growing up as a Japanese Jew in Los Angeles during the 1970s, and the third a Lifestyle book about how a diet of Hawaiian, Japanese, and Jewish food keeps her family healthy and happy. She is also currently on a national radio tour discussing her humorous take on politics, pop culture, and families.

Updated June 2012

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Crónicas Nikkei #1 — ¡ITADAKIMASU! Sabores de La Cultura Nikkei

A Japanese-Jewish Family Remains Bonded through Shared Recipes

My earliest memory is a black and white image of my young, round face peering over my parent’s dinner table. I can still smell the sweet and endless aromas that swelled from the kitchen and made their way into the dining room that anchored our family home.

All curious-faced and wide-eyed, I would climb on my father’s large art books to catch a glimpse of my mother’s Japanese and American dishes that warmed my every sense and sensibility.

On any every given night, I was thrilled to see warmed platters of shabu-shabu or sukimono; tsukemono or takoyaki ...

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Crónicas Nikkei #1 — ¡ITADAKIMASU! Sabores de La Cultura Nikkei

Family Meals That Integrate Rather Than Segregate

While growing up within two different cultures left my siblings and me with bittersweet challenges, we have always had the sweet comforts of the family meal and a “welcoming” table that satisfied both our appetites and spirits.

Feasting on distinctive recipes passed down from my father’s Russian-Jewish family, and my mother’s exotic blend of Japanese-Hawaiian heritage, serves as a reminder that we are a family nourished by honoring our ethnicity and the diverse ingredients that make us whole.

My family, blessed with the piquancy of two cultures, serves meals that are both savory and resplendent. While we often ...

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Out of the Confluence Of Race, Culture, And Ethnic Heritage Artistic Masterpieces Emerge

While recently visiting my father’s art studio and viewing the vibrant cascades of colors in his larger than life paintings, I felt as if I had somehow returned home, and appreciated a true sense of belonging in a way I never imagined possible.

With time, I had forgotten the once familiar aromas of both fresh and overly used oil paints; the splatters and smudges of India ink on his studio floors, and the overpowering sight of rafters filled with art that dated back to the late 1950s when he spent his youth as a romantic starving artist in Kyoko ...

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Matzah Sushi

I had a joyous childhood, and an incredibly inspiring one as well, as a Japanese-Russian-Jewish girl growing up in Southern California during the 1970s. My life as a child was a colorful adventure filled with curious fascination and optimism, with everything intriguing and nothing mundane. I had my share of Omega-3s for decades before it became a health trend, with a bounty of fresh lox and bagels one day and whole salmons prepared Japanese-style the next.

Both my parents knew who they were and freely raised us as a sweet cocktail of two equally respected cultural worlds; and this is ...

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Crónicas Nikkei #1 — ¡ITADAKIMASU! Sabores de La Cultura Nikkei

Blending Recipes And Cultures

Whether I watched my Jewish grandfather carefully save the chicken schmaltz, after preparing Matzoh Ball soup or my Japanese grandmother make tamago gohan, a meal of rice, eggs, and shoyu. What far surpassed the intimate cooking lessons was the invaluable respect both sides of my family showed for each other’s cultural differences, and bonded through the shared and blended recipes of exotic cuisine from each.

As a child, I felt I was a misunderstood ethnic rarity, I never knew other children with the same exotic genre of cultural mixture and background. Thankfully today, more couples than ever before connect ...

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